Joint Review Board learns Colfax tax incremental finance districts in “pretty good shape”

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX — The Joint Review Board for the Village of Colfax’s two tax incremental finance districts has learned the districts are in “pretty good shape.”

Sean Lentz, senior municipal advisor with the village’s financial consultants, Ehlers & Associates, reported on the TIF districts at the Joint Review Board’s annual meeting November 1.

A new state law requires the Joint Review Boards for TIF districts to hold annual meetings and also requires municipalities where the TIF districts are located to submit an annual report to the state, Lentz said.

The Joint Review Board for the two TIF districts in Colfax includes Gary Stene, village president, as the representative for the village; Steve Rasmussen, chair of the Dunn County Board as the representative for Dunn County; Dan Lytle as the representative for Chippewa Valley Technical College; Bill Yingst, district administrator, as the representative for the Colfax school district; and Mike Buchner, village resident, as the public member of the Joint Review Board.

Yingst was absent from the meeting.

After the meeting was convened, Stene was nominated and elected to serve as chair of the annual meeting.

TIF districts

A Tax Increment Finance District is a form of public financing that diverts property taxes on improvements in the district to be put toward an economic development project or a public improvement project.

Instead of the tax increment going to the Colfax school district, Chippewa Valley Technical College and Dunn County, the village retains the money.

When the TIF closes out, the other taxing jurisdictions receive the difference in the remaining funds.

The tax increment districts neither help nor hurt the school districts. When the TIF district closes out, the amount of money received by the school district is deducted by the state from state aid.

A tax increment district has a base property value when the district is formed. Each of the taxing authorities receives their share of the property taxes from the base value in the TIF district for the life of the district. When improvements are made within the tax increment district, the property taxes that would have been paid on the improvements, instead of being paid to the taxing authorities, goes into a special fund for the village. The village can then use those funds to make further improvements in the TIF district, such as street projects.

Tax increment districts are set up for either 20 or 27 years.

TIF 3 was created in 2002 and covers much of the downtown area and additional areas to the south and is known as a “blighted TIF” intended to rehabilitate specific areas of the village.

TIF 4 was created in 2006 and is a “mixed use” TIF used to develop land on the south side of the village. Businesses and industries located in TIF District 4 and built after the TIF district was formed include Anderson Bridges and the Village Pointe Plaza containing Anytime Fitness, Mane Street Salon and Mom’s Restaurant and Pub.

Each TIF has a project plan containing eligible expenses that could be reimbursed with TIF district money.

The way the TIF districts are set up now, TIF 4 is sharing revenue to help TIF 3 pay for projects, Lentz said.

The Colfax Village Board approved amending Tax Increment Finance Districts 3 and 4 to share funds in October of 2016 to pay for the Third Avenue street project.

The Joint Review Board approved a resolution to allow TIF District 4 to share revenue with TIF District 3 at a meeting held October 31, 2016.

East View

Several members of the Joint Review Board wanted to know about the East View residential development.

East View is located east of Dunn Street, and Dunn Street was part of the TIF projects, Stene noted.

Infrastructure for sewer and water is already installed along Dunn Street next to the land owned by the village and only needs to be connected to any houses built in East View along that section of the street, he said.

One house has been built in East View, and a developer has told the village board he would be interested in building 12 duplexes in East View, Stene said.

The duplexes would require more infrastructure, he noted.

Stene said he was “cautiously optimistic” about the possibility of the duplexes being built.

TIF 3

TIF District 3 had an ending fund balance December 31, 2016, of $202,337.

The tax increment set aside in 2016 on improvements was $73,284.

The total amount of the tax increment, from when the TIF was created in 2002 through 2016, is $594,328.

Capital expenditures in TIF 3 from time of creation until the end of 2016 was $1,143,543.

Capital expenditures in 2016 were $383,699.

The last date to incur project costs in TIF 3 is 2024, and the final dissolution date is 2029.

Actual project costs for TIF District 3 include $383,669 for the Third Avenue project; $364,514 for the Fourth Avenue project; $384,714 for the Bremer Avenue project; $10,930 for administration; $10,646 for planning, legal and consulting fees; $1,575 for professional fees; $122,505 for interest and fiscal charges; $30,000 for development incentives or subsidies.

Total actual project costs were $1,308,553.

TIF 4

TIF District 4 had an ending fund balance December 31, 2016, of $33,722.

The tax increment set aside in 2016 was $22,366.

The total amount of the tax increment, from when the TIF district was created in 2006 through 2016, is $188,738.

Capital expenditures were zero in 2016.

The last date to incur project costs in TIF District 4 is 2021, and the final dissolution date is 2026.

Actual project costs for TIF District 4 include $5,930 for planning, legal and consulting; $114,104 for strip mall construction; $7,950 for administration; $8,375 for professional fees; and $22,274 for interest and fiscal charges.

Total actual project costs were $158,633.

Approval

State law requires the Joint Review Board to meet annually on July 1 or when the annual report becomes available for review.

The due date for the Colfax reports on TIF Districts 3 and 4 was July 3, and the reports were submitted to the state on June 23.

The members of the Joint Review Board unanimously approved a resolution acknowledging the filing of the annual reports and compliance with the annual meeting requirement for the Village of Colfax.